Thursday, 5 November 2009

Great results

Some good surf comp results for the Boardriders over half term. Toby was second to Russell Winter in the NE Open at Tynemouth, beating Mark Harris and Ruebin Pearce in the final.
And Max got to the final of the UK Pro Tour Under 16 event in Porthcawl Wales (the AXL/DOH Pro), where he came third beating local favourite and under 16 British squad member Max Tucker. Tour leader Leon Mansfield was first and Zak Lawton second. It's been a great year for the team.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Down to the skeleton

So it's me, Janey, Wailin, Mikey and JD - that's it at Surf's Up! HQ this winter - but already I'm liking it. The pace and atmosphere changes completely once the half term is out the way. It's much more relaxed, a nice wind down. Can't believe how lucky we were with the weather - September and October were incredible.

Kelly's just returned from an elite training week that we put together for some of the British Squad in Portugal. Sounds like they had some amazing surf. And then this weekend he have the Quiksilver and Roxy Team riders coming to stay at the Beach House for some intensive coaching. Looking forward to that.

We say goodbye to Big Sam who has decided to lay up his instructor vest after seven years on and off. He's been a stalwart, a trooper, a leader of men and on many occasions a real support. Dedicated, professional and committed - he's never missed a day off for sickness - a massive tick in our book. He has a creative mind that will hold him in good stead for the future and he goes with our very best wishes. He leaves on a high having put together out new junior training scheme earlier this year. 

Now then, back to me! I've lost one and half stone in six weeks - and there's more to go. Loving this cycling. Just spent two hours on the Schwinn doing one of these motivational DVD's - Spinervals 'No Mercy' - highly recommended! And now it's off to gym! Only thing to do in this weather!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Exmoor Beast

You know this morning when you woke up and looked out of the window - did you notice that summer had come to an end? Gale force winds and horizontal rain! Hm. It was at 4am that I made tracks to Butlins at Minehead for the Exmoor Beast. Of all the days - particularly considering the fantastic weather we've had! Why did it have to break today of all days! It was clear early on that conditions were extreme, and reports coming direct from the top of the moor were talking about 50 mile an hour winds. The rain was lashing down. There were obvious safety issues for the organisers to factor and options to consider - would we go at all, would be one of them! The 101 mile dream was over, the call was made to only do the 100k route and postpone for an hour. The decision was met with little resistance. What transpired over the next 5 hours was a battle royale against the elements.

To put some perspective on how extreme it was - at times on the flat straights I could muster only 6 miles an hour (compared to a normal 15-20), barely managing to stay on the bike at times. And the easiest part of the first 35 miles was the long haul up from Lynemouth to Simonsbath, the 6 mile uphill run, the place that I had feared the most. The sheltered valley offered all 1700 competitors a respite from the battering.

It was brutal! So many steep strength sapping climbs - one after another, after another with the wind seemingly head on all the time. Even the downhill sections offered little respite and had to be treated with respect as leaves, branches and pine needles scattered over the road made for ice like conditions. You had to keep a keen eye on the riders in front to watch for places where the wind blasted through gaps in the hedges from the roadside. Charging was not an option. All the riders became insular - this had become a personal battle. The incessant driving rain called for full concentration, heads down and chatting was not an option.

At the start line, I muscled my way to the second row. After ten miles I'd managed to keep with the leading pack. On the hills I did okay losing only a few places. But once we became fully exposed on the top of the Moor, well there were many stronger riders.

I crossed the finishing line after 5 hours and 2 mins (the leaders coming in around 4 hours 15) that was 437th out of 1730 - with 5 weeks training I've got to be pretty stoked with that. My quads have never felt as tired as that, ever. But I was really chuffed having conquered some of the steepest roads at their most challenging and giving it all without stopping! It was a huge mental and physical test and a very memorable experience! It was a great day.